Making services that matter

Kickstarting the culture change and public engagement needed to transform York's public services for good.

City of York Council

Internal and external engagement 2014-2015

The Brief

To create a more entrepreneurial, collaborative and fast-paced culture at City of York Council.

The Strategy

Reconnect staff to residents and each other to inform new service solutions.

The Solution

A sustained programme of engagement and organisational development, delivering the ideas, energy and ownership needed to bring about meaningful change.

City of York Council is made up of 3,000 passionate people working together for the benefit of York.

Local communities depend on the statutory services they deliver to keep York clean, safe, productive and resilient. Local authorities can also be an empowering force - transforming lives, communities and generations.

Like Local Authorities up and down the country, City of York Council was delivering all of this against an increasingly tough financial backdrop. But regardless of the financial constraints the council knew it needed to change.

Residents told them they wanted services that are joined-up, easy to access, and responsive to their needs. Communities told them they wanted more control over their future and their local areas.

Fast-forward to 2020 and City of York Council will be markedly different to what it is now. More streamlined, focused and agile, they will be able to deliver more with less thanks to the big changes made during the transformation programme.

Local authority transformation programme - communications and marketing.jpg
City of York Council transformation of services ideas

Inspiring and communicating change

Like No Other were brought in to help create a more entrepreneurial, collaborative and fast-paced culture at City of York Council to ensure it could meet these challenges head-on.

To kickstart this new way of working, we ran a major engagement exercise involving 10,000 residents and 3,000 staff.

This informed a new communications framework for the transformation programme and employee engagement handbook to embed the values, purpose and practicalities of working life at the council. Its sister blog would reveal the inner workings of the programme and feature a series of staff stories and service case studies; showcasing and celebrating successful service transformations.

Managers were empowered with the tools they needed to have conversations with their teams, including team exercises, community case studies and learning modules. Director-led sessions, engagement forums and a new staff ideas scheme soon followed.

The centrepiece of the council’s transformation would be its new website. By breaking out of a small team and engaging residents in its development, every decision made was based on sound research and user perspective, giving everyone greater confidence of the direction the project was heading in. On launch, the website became the first major demonstration of new agile, open and 24/7 council, where dealing with public services and key tasks is far simpler and quicker than ever before.

All About Us - City of York Council


A few years on and many of the engagement tools, techniques and platforms developed for the transformation programme have since been adopted as standard within City of York Council and other local authorities around the country.